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Elliott School of International Affairs

Former National Intelligence Council Chairman Christopher Kojm, now an Elliott School visiting professor, talked about national security and future international challenges with Dean Michael Brown. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Former National Intelligence Council Chairman Christopher Kojm, now an Elliott School visiting professor, talked about national security and future challenges in international relations with Dean Michael Brown. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Genevieve Montinar.

The former chairman of the National Intelligence Council who’s now a visiting professor at GW has some advice for President Barack Obama.

Christopher Kojm sat down for a discussion Thursday with Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, about what has contributed to the demise of national security in the countries highlighted in the NIC’s “Global Trends 2030” report.

A part of a series that focuses on leaders in international development, Kojm offered his own thoughts on how countries can best work together to solve global issues and what role the U.S. president should play.

Here’s what you need to know about what happened:

1. Advice for Obama

Kojm said he would encourage the president to take advantage of the U.S.’s status as a world power to create international partnerships, especially in responding to ISIS.

“We have a remarkable power and influence, and this cannot be addressed without broad international support,” he said. “I think we see the president, certainly in the case of ISIS here seeking to put together a broad coalition of 40 or plus countries together. So coalitions will really matter.”

He added that Obama should concentrate on improving relations with China over the next several years.

“We got lots of problems, lots of issues with China some are quite profound,” he said. “But we also have many areas of commonality and we are finding ways to work together on some questions.”

2. Global trends

The NIC report, “Global Trends 2030,” covered four trends in developing countries. Officials traveled to Beijing, Moscow, Brussels, Singapore and other cities to gather data on individual empowerment, demographics, diffusion of power and growth in the developing world.

“Nobody knows what the world would look like, and we wanted to avoid parochialism and have as broad a perspective as possible in thinking about the future of the international system,” Kojm said.

He said the data showed that 60 percent of the population will live in cities in about 15 years, and urbanization will be an important factor for aid groups to consider as they plan for the future.

Kojm said the report unintentionally has “an added diplomatic benefit.”

“You start a dialogue going with elites around the world about what the future of the world is going to look like and you begin to influence other capitals,” said Kojm

3. “Profound” governmental challenges

Kojm emphasized the importance of strong governance as nations face future dilemmas.

“The challenges governments face – Ebola, proper regulation of information technology, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – collectively, seem to be pretty profound,” he said.

He also mentioned the situations in Spain and Britain where different regions have tried to secede, citing them as examples of the difficulties governments face when trying to exert authority.

4. Lessons in leadership

Kojm included his own experience as a leader in the policy world. He said as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, he made it a point to reach out to senior staffers and listen to what issues concerned them.

“Treat everyone you meet with and work with with dignity,” he said, adding that students shouldn’t ignore any work colleague, no matter his or her status in an organization.

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The Elliott School of International Affairs just secured a presidential appointee to take over a research center next year, the University announced Tuesday.

Allison Macfarlane, chairwoman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will lead GW’s Center for International Science and Technology Policy starting Jan. 1. She will also direct GW’s masters program in international science and technology policy.

Macfarlane has led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since July 2012. She will teach one course at GW next semester called “Energy and Society.”

An expert in nuclear waste issues, Macfarlane oversees the use of radioactive materials for civilian purposes. She previously advised President Barack Obama on how the U.S. should handle high-level nuclear waste as part of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

“I am looking forward to returning to my academic research and to training a new generation of leaders in science and technology policy,” Macfarlane said in a release.

The Elliott School has built up its focus on nuclear issues recently, and it brought Macfarlane to GW to speak in spring 2012 before she was named the agency’s chairwoman.

Elliott School Dean Michael Brown said Macfarlane would bring knowledge of “some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity in the 21st century” to the University.

“Her scholarly expertise has been further extended by her two and a half years of leadership and high-level policy engagement at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Brown said.

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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 1:54 p.m.

Building bridges from diasporas to homelands

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Regina Park.

Diaspora organizations met Tuesday at the Elliott School of International Affairs to discuss the challenges and positive developments for people who live outside their homeland at the Global Diaspora Media Forum

The International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, a non-profit organization that helps diaspora communities give back to their homelands, sponsored the day-long forum in partnership with GW’s Center for International Business Education and Research and AudioNow, a “call-to-listen” platform.

The forum focused on the disconnect between diaspora communities and their homeland and bridging that disconnect.

Here are the top three takeaways from the event:

1. Leveraging the media

First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy diaspora is a challenge by the very nature that people can be dispersed around the globe and there isn’t a central physical area to target those populations.

But that gap can be closed through media outlets and technologies to connect members of a diaspora, said Anne Bennett, the executive director of Hirondelle USA, a group that tries to facilitate peaceful democratization.

“There is an enormous potential for greater partners and investment in independent broadcasting.” Bennett said.

2. Investing at home

Some government programs help members of a country’s diaspora more effectively help their original communities.

The Mexican government’s 3×1 program, for example, match funds raised independently to help expatriates invest in their home communities, Deputy Press Secretary at the Mexican Embassy Vanessa Calva said.

“Help from the government really brings the community together and organizes them,” Calva said.

3. Progress in the future

Diasporas have existed for centuries, but new technologies and organizations are transforming the way diasporas stay connected to their homeland.

Part of that innovation lies in startups, from new, targeted media outlets to programs that connect people across a diaspora, Bennett said.

“These are vibrants startups that have huge followings.” Bennett said. “We really are just at the beginning of that.”

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Dave Lawlor, chair of the Innovation Task Force, will begin a new position at UC Davis in November. Hatchet File Photo.

Dave Lawlor, the chair of the Innovation Task Force, will take a new position at UC Davis in November. Hatchet File Photo.

One of the University’s top finance officials is leaving Foggy Bottom for a position on the West Coast.

Dave Lawlor, the senior associate vice president for finance, will serve as chief financial officer and vice chancellor of finance and resource management at the University of California, Davis, the institution’s chancellor Linda Katehi announced Tuesday. He will begin his new position Nov. 3.

“I feel very fortunate to move from one world-class institution to another,” Lawlor said in a UC Davis press release. “The financial challenges, opportunities for growth in research and fundraising, globalization factors, and new modes of instruction present similar business decision points.”

Lawlor leaves GW after seven years, during which he also served as chair of the Innovation Task Force, University President Steven Knapp’s signature program to cut costs and create revenue-generating initiatives. Knapp asked the group to find $60 million in savings annually, a goal the ITF has faced setbacks in reaching.

Knapp praised the departing administrator in the UC Davis release, saying “his dedication and his collaborative style enabled the ITF to identify savings and new revenue sources that are having a transformational impact on our university.”

Before coming to GW, Lawlor was chief financial and chief operating officer at PCTEL Maryland, Inc. and also served as vice president of strategy and business development at the Chicago branch of PCTEL, Inc.

With Lawlor’s departure, the University will have to fill the vacancies of three senior administrator who chose to step down this month.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown will step down at the end of the academic year, and Mike Morsberger, vice president for development and alumni relations, announced last week he will leave at the end of the month.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Lawlor was the third senior administrator to announce his departure from the University this month, following Dean Michael Brown and Mike Morsberger. Though he is stepping down from his position as dean, Brown will continue to work at GW as a professor. We regret this error.

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Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown announced last week that he would leave his position this spring. Hatchet File Photo.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown announced last week that he would leave his position by the end of the academic year. Hatchet File Photo.

The Elliott School of International Affairs is immediately launching a search for a new leader to replace Dean Michael Brown, University President Steven Knapp said Tuesday.

The search will be GW’s fifth in the last three years, and the second GW will conduct this fall. A committee of Elliott School professors, administrators and students will interview candidates before likely inviting a group of finalists to campus this spring.

Brown, who announced he would step down after a decade at the school’s helm last week, was the last holdover dean from former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s 19-year tenure.

The School of Nursing will continue to search for a replacement for Dean Jean Johnson this fall. Johnson plans to remain in her role as dean until December, Knapp said at a Faculty Assembly meeting Tuesday.

In June 2013, Johnson announced she would step down by the end of the 2014 academic year, but agreed to stay on until a replacement was chosen. The University pushed off the search after the GW School of Business unexpectedly had to find a replacement for former dean Doug Guthrie, who was fired last fall.

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Michael Brown, dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, announced Thursday he plans to step down from his post at the end of this year. Hatchet file photo.

Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, announced Thursday he plans to step down from his post at the end of this academic year. Hatchet File Photo.

Michael Brown will step down as dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the end of this academic year, he announced in an email to faculty Thursday.

Brown, who has led the school for roughly the past decade, told faculty it was “time to pass the baton,” and that he will remain a tenured professor in the Elliott School. He is the University’s longest-serving dean and the last dean from former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s administration.

“I am proud of the progress the Elliott School has made during my time as Dean, and I am proud of our position as one of the best schools of international affairs in the world,” he wrote in the email obtained by the Hatchet. “It has been a privilege to contribute to the advancement of this superb institution.”

He came to GW in August 2005, and has since more than doubled the school’s endowment from about $20 million to $44 million.

Brown has also grown the school’s faculty by about 20 professors, increased its number of research institutes and raised the school’s research profile, strengthening its expertise in regions like the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The school was ranked ninth for undergraduate and seventh for graduate programs in Foreign Policy magazine two years ago.

An expert in international security and conflict studies, Brown wrote that he was interested in taking a sabbatical.

“Over the years, I have approved numerous faculty requests for sabbaticals, and I have become intrigued by the concept,” he wrote. “As it turns out, I have a lot of accumulated research leave and the world has accumulated a lot of security and conflict problems while I have been attending budget meetings in Rice Hall.”

Brown, who is about 60 years old, earned a Ph.D. in government from Cornell University. He previously served as a professor at the the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and served as director of Georgetown’s Center for Peace and Security Studies and director of the master’s program in Security Studies from 2000 to 2005.

He is the University’s fourth dean to step down in the past two years. Jean Johnson, dean of the School of Nursing, also announced in spring 2013 that she plans to take a sabbatical and step back into a faculty role once a replacement is chosen.

Through University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar, Provost Steven Lerman declined to comment on whether a search for a new Elliott School dean would begin this year.

“Mike Brown has been an outstanding leader at GW since he first joined the university nearly a decade ago,” Lerman said in a release. “He has been a tremendous asset to the George Washington community, and I am grateful he will continue to serve as a member of our faculty.”

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Faculty and researchers will start moving into the Science and Engineering Hall this December. Hatchet file photo.

Faculty and researchers will start moving into the Science and Engineering Hall this December. Hatchet File Photo.

Updated: Sept. 19, 2014 at 5:39 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Genevieve Tarino.

When the Science and Engineering Hall opens in January, students will see one of the most high-tech academic spaces at GW to date, which was built with an eye toward sustainability.

Contractors who worked on the University’s most expensive academic development gave a presentation on the stages of completing the Science and Engineering Hall on Thursday, providing insight into some of the challenges behind the project.

Clark Construction, the project’s contractor, and Ballinger, the architect, worked on the building with a goal to reduce the hall’s carbon footprint by 8,100 metric tons each year. Typically, labs use more energy than classrooms.

The designers said sustainability was a focus throughout the design and construction process. The University has stated in the past that it hopes the the building will receive a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Sustainability has become a major focus for GW in recent years, with five of campus’ newest buildings receiving a gold LEED ranking. The Milken Institute School of Public Health building received a platinum LEED certification this summer, the highest ranking possible.

Officials chose to use cutting-edge green technologies, including panels for solar energy and a rainwater cistern for toilets. The parking lot will also include electrical vehicle charging for hybrid cars.

The hall’s common areas will have features meant to cut down on air conditioning use, including a 25-foot ficus towering in the south side of building. Palm trees and green walls also dot the common areas, strategically placed to absorb the most sunlight.

Students will also be able to study in a structure that project architect Robert Voss called the “teaching tower,” as well as a large steel staircase on the building’s ground floor.

Only inches away from three GW residence halls, a Metro station and a main street, Clark Construction crew members were wary throughout the construction process. Because of the closeness to other buildings, the construction crew had to dismantle the pre-existing building nearly piece by piece instead of using a quicker method, such as using a wrecking ball.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that project architect Robert Voss called a structure in the Science and Engineering Hall the “teaching towner.” He called it the “teaching tower.” We regret this error.

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The University touts the Elliott School of International Affairs for its building near the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the White House and the State Department.

But at the school’s celebration Friday, Dean Michael Brown urged students to appreciate not just its location but also the scholars and leaders that make it unique.

Here are four takeaways from the event’s speakers:

1. Progress happens, just not immediately

Brown said positive global change, such as the average life expectancy increasing from 31 to 70 years old over the last hundred years and waves of democratization, happens – but not on its own.

Brown told graduates that vision, character, courage and perseverance are the keys to progress. With more than 20,000 Elliott alumni working in about 100 countries, students should look forward to a career of visionary work, he said.

2. Be at the right place at the right time

Student speaker Max Sanders shared a former professor’s parting words: “You don’t need to be famous to leave your mark on history.”

Sanders said the Class of 2014 studied at the right time, with opportunities to study abroad during the Arab Spring and hear lectures by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Elliott School Keynote Address speaker Professor David Shambaugh. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Elliott School of International Affairs keynote speaker professor David Shambaugh. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

3. “You could find your spouse here.”

David Shambaugh, the director of the school’s China Policy Program, said international affairs degrees were just as useful today as they were in the 1970s when he earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from GW.

Shambaugh said his Elliott classmates boasted careers ranging from global investment banking to think-tank analysis to intelligence. One of those classmates, a Chinese art historian, married him more than 30 years ago.

“International Affairs degrees are practical and flexible,” Shambaugh said. “So look around because the next billionaire investment banker could be sitting in this room, or your future wife.”

4. Worry about what others think

Shambaugh said miscommunication and a “deficit of mutual trust” cause major wars today. He said graduates have the responsibility to engage and educate the “ignorant public” about different cultures.

Shambaugh reflected on his own graduation ceremony speaker in 1977, who was the ambassador to Bangladesh.

“He urged us to look beyond the East-West divide and pay attention to the developing world,” Shambough said. “The same is true today.”

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Shahzeb Mirza.

Brazil’s ambassador affirmed that his country would take a more proactive role in safeguarding peace and justice across the world during an on-campus speech Thursday.

Mauro Vieira, the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S., told listeners at the Elliott School of International Affairs to keep an eye on the rising global economic and political power, which he expects to increasingly attract international attention.

Vieira, who previously served as Brazil’s ambassador to Argentina until 2010, said the Brazilian government aims to become a leader in promoting human rights, non-interventionist policies and cooperation. Brazil is also looking to deepen diplomatic ties with other emerging powers.

He said the country is focusing on anti-terrorism efforts in cooperation with its allies, including South American neighbors and the U.S.

As Brazil’s economy has grown over the last two decades, Vieira said the government has managed to alleviate inequality and narrow the gap between men and women.

“I don’t think there is any imbalance between genders in our country,” Vieira said, adding that women increasingly play active roles in both the public and private sectors.

The ambassador said enthusiasm is beginning to peak among the Brazilian public for the World Cup in June, and excitement is building for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He added that both events promise to further boost Brazil’s economy, which already benefits from strong trade and investment.

The event was sponsored by GW’s Brazil Initiative, which launched last fall to expand courses and research on Brazil. An anonymous donor gave $500,000 to the University to establish the initiative.

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Elliott School of International Affairs professor Edward Gnehm, a former ambassador, offered his thoughts on the Arab Spring at an annual lecture Wednesday.

Elliott School of International Affairs professor Edward Gnehm, a former ambassador, offered his thoughts on the Arab Spring at an annual lecture Wednesday. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatcher reporter Victoria Sheridan.

Three years after the Arab Spring erupted throughout the Middle East, a former U.S. diplomat told students Thursday that less politically inclusive countries would continue to grapple with instability.

Edward “Skip” Gnehm, Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Kuwait and Jordan who now teaches Middle East politics at GW, said nations such as Iraq and Egypt have excluded secularists and certain religious groups from the political process, breeding resentment. Meanwhile the Tunisian government has brought minority groups into its decision making.

“Tunisia, Egypt, and Iraq are examples of countries that have taken or are taking different paths as they cope with the present in search for that better tomorrow,” Gnehm said at the Annual Kuwait Chair Lecture in the Elliott School of International Affairs. “Building an inclusive political process is absolutely essential to long-term success.”

He said nearly the same issues – repressive governments, economic instability, poor living conditions and religious animosities – underlay political unrest in each country.

Gnehm, who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from GW, said he doesn’t expect to see in the near future the “democratic institutions, political transparency, end of corruption or an open, competitive economy” that citizens in the Middle East have demanded.

“But I believe those aspirations and hopes remain very, very much in their hearts and minds,” he said.

Tunisia’s trajectory has stood out because the government has been able to compromise secular and Islamic demands. Many Tunisian leaders spent time in exile during the political revolution, giving them “exposure to the world outside of Tunisia,” Gnehm said, while Iraqi and Egyptian officials have been more “insulated and isolated.”

Civil society also grew in Tunisia as leaders constructed a new government, which has reinforced stability.

After a 36-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Gnehm joined the GW faculty in 2004. The Kuwaiti government endows his professorship. He also served on the Board of Trustees for seven years.

Gnehm said he still had hope for Iraq, where oil production is steadying, security efforts have increased and “political discourse is alive and well.” He called 2011 a “watershed moment in modern Middle East developments,” and he expects further changes.

“2011 is not the beginning, and 2014 is not the end,” he said.

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